There’s growing debate and fear that electric cars could strain the already somewhat overloaded South African electrical grid. The country has been struggling with load shedding for the better part of a decade and questions arise if it can cope with the growth in electric cars coming to our roads.
The answer to that is yes, our electrical grid can cope and can actually get saved from having to shed power thanks to battery electric vehicles. All this is can be achieved through bidirectional charging.
During the months of winter Eskom runs ads to alert people of how the grid is doing during peak hours, asking for some appliances to be switched off.
The problem arises when everyone comes back from work and school and have to cook, iron, and turn on their heaters. As you can imagine this puts a lot of strain on the electric grid.
Electric vehicles can help alleviate this problem by acting as batteries for the home, a mini power bank of sorts. This means a house gets its power from the vehicle at peak times of around 6pm-10pm. After that during the course of the night when demand is low, the vehicle can then charge itself for the morning commute.
Not only can the power stored in the vehicle be used to power the car but it can also be fed back into the grid to help balance it out. In some countries, you can actually earn money by supplying power back into the grid or when you use up the excess power to charge your vehicle during off-peak hours.
About Bidirectional Charging
Bidirectional charging is somewhat self-explanatory, it’s EV charging that goes both ways, with unidirectional (one-way) EV chargers, electricity flows from the electric grid into the electric vehicle, with bidirectional (two-way) EV chargers, electricity can flow both ways.
Battery Electric Vehicle automakers such as Nissan and Honda are said to be still exploring the technology while Tesla who is arguably the leader in electric vehicles, has been reticent about deploying bidirectional charging in the past.
The benefits of bi-directional charging
You can read more about bidirectional charging and where energy goes when it leaves your vehicle from the source at Wallbox.
Other sources: Electrek